Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Twittering Ecstasy of Communication

About a decade ago a good friend of mine and I were discussing the on coming evolution of humanity toward a more united, more immediate, interconnected borgification-like thought process. He recommended I read Jean Baudrillard's Ecstasy of Communication. The French philosopher, as I recall, was arguing that communication is basically without meaning, that it is the communication itself that is communicated -- Baudrillard saw humanity as becoming all consumed, "orgiastically," by its ever increasingly sophisticated ability to communicate.

It is an interesting point, and one that I've been sensitive to. On deciding to blog, adopting social networking apps, etc. I've always had this nagging sense that these activities have an innate element of narcissistic junior highschoolness about them. At the same time, I've always felt this instinctive need to broadcast communicate -- from late in my teen years when I studied creative writing, to subsequent technical publications, to more recent blogging efforts.

Many reactionaries to the "Twitterification of the Web" tend toward a Baudrillard-esque take. By the "Twitterification of the Web," I mean the increasing emergence and dominance of the "What am I doing now" type functionality that Twitter introduced and social networking sites like Facebook extended through automatic status update broadcasting. I often hear the argument that this "crap is just a giant waste of time" -- certainly there is some truth in this, but recently I ran across an article by HorsePigCow that discusses some direct benefits of Twitter in particular. I was struck by the one line, that Twitter is a "serendipity enabler" -- its an interesting idea, that broadcasting snapshots of life minutia provides entry points for the interested listener to latch on and react to -- and perhaps, this one I'm really holding out for, we can create a rural-like social encounter experience in the urban world, i.e. just run into our friends instead of planning a priori encounters. The author provides the example of her tweet of arrival at an airport that led to a serendipitously present friend to hear the tweet, and arrange to meet.

Well, to make a long story short, I thought I'd finally dive in and give Twittering a try. So as an experiment, I'm now tweeting. You'll find my last few tweets available on the ChaloBolo website in the right column below the post topics section. You can follow any of the links should you be a fellow tweeter interested in subscribing.
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1 comment:

Seth Falcon said...

Welcome to twitterhood, @zang0. I liked your post. While often useless or inane, I have had useful social fabric experiences with twitter and that's what keeps me interested.

@sfalcon

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